Grandma’s Noodles

My family alternated holidays between the grandparents when I was a kid. We had a Fat Grandma and a Skinny Grandma. Not that we called them that, but it was a noteworthy comparison.

I won’t say that we preferred one over the other, but Skinny Grandma served boiled okra as a Thanksgiving side dish.

Fat Grandma always had homemade noodles.

We entered her home through the kitchen; immediately greeted by the wonderful smells, and a kiss on the lips no matter how you tried to dodge it. While the men sat in the living room talking about the Army/Navy game, the women and children were put to small tasks to speed the meal. Not that Grandma needed much help. The turkey and stuffing (plus dressing on the side for those who preferred it that way) were baking, the pies and cranberry sauce already made, and the air humid from boiling pots of potatoes and broth. Grandma’s apron was already covered in flour as she began to roll out the noodles.

I loved watching this process. She rolled the dough almost paper thin and then rolled it up jelly-roll style to slice into long strips of noodles. I got to help unfurl each roll and hang it to air dry just slightly before she cooked them in the boiling broth.

Somehow, without aid of microwave, everything was served hot, crowded on the serving table, ready for Grandpa to say the blessing as we all gathered. We didn’t all agree that the noodles were our favorite thing, but with their melt-in-your-mouth perfection they were part of everyone’s Thanksgiving plate.

“Everyone” could be a sizable crowd. Various of Grandpa’s eight siblings, their children or grandchildren made appearances over the years, along with our family, aunts, uncles and cousins. Neighbors, friends, and strangers like a young missionary pair working in their town, joined our meal at times. We brought along last-minute friends one year, but feeding four unexpected teenaged mouths was no problem for Grandma. (I think they each got a kiss, too.) At her house, space would be made for all who came. There would always be enough food to share.

In many ways, it was always Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house.

I’m So Glad You Thought of That!

Little things make me happy. Like foaming soap. So I entertained myself thinking about some of my favorite inventions. Not necessities, but simple things I enjoy on an almost daily basis. Here’s what I came up with, in no particular order.

1) Foaming soap. (I wasn’t kidding.) Warm Vanilla Sugar is my favorite scent.
2) Fans. Electric fans. I love to sleep with one on as many months of the year as my husband will tolerate. Add blankets, but keep the fan. I also appreciate the fan that quickly blows heat into a chilly car these Fall mornings, then fills the car with a cool breeze in the heat of the day. I’m a fan of air conditioning, too. (Oops, inadvertent pun.)
3) Cup holders. Really, how did we drive back in the 70’s? With a can of pop between our knees and the wind blowing hot air through the open window, that’s how. Cup holders are such a wonderful invention that cup makers adapted their designs to fit.
4) Ziplock baggies. I use them for so much more than food storage. They are great for keeping papers neat, clean, and visible. Ditto for kids’ books. They come in all sizes and are great for craft pieces. I use them all the time. And, if someone is car sick? ZIP and PITCH!
5) Insulated bottles you can fill with ice to keep a drink cold all day. AND they fit in my cup holder!
6) The little pill sorters for days of the week/times of the day. Never gave them a thought until I started helping take care of my mom, who takes 18 pills a day. Now I love them. Genius.
7) Task specific adhesives. Post-its. Glue dots for scrapbooks/card making. Super glue. Etc.
8) Sunglasses. Love the sun; hate to squint. I wear them year round. My daughter once told me she could describe me to someone trying to pick me out in a crowd anytime, “My mom? She’s the short blonde with sunglasses and a giant travel mug.”
9) The DVR. I was going to stick with lo-tech, smaller inventions, but I can’t leave this off my list. We watch what we want, when we want, without having to remember to record it, and we can pause it when interrupted and not miss a thing. It still amazes me. This week it caught reruns of Firefly and several season premieres I would have forgotten. Finding time to watch – still a problem.
10) Here’s another I can’t ignore. All forms of instant, written communication: email, instant message, tweet, text, etc., etc., etc. Truly amazing.

Thank you, thank you, inventors, whoever you are. Your idea brightens my days!

If you’re reading this, I’d love to hear what would be on your list.